Not long ago I read an out of print book by Ernst Boyer, Jr. entitled, “Finding God at Home”. In the book, he mentions one of his classes at Harvard Divinity School where the professor describe the life of the desert fathers. Leading a life of deep commitment, solitude, prayer and reflection they gave themselves to what some might call a deeper life in God. While this life attracted him, he began to sense a deeper frustration–he was married with children! “Was such a life possible with the commitment of a family?”
After the lecture, upon gathering his emotions, Ernst approached the professor with this question, “Is there childcare in the desert?” The book is his attempt to answer that question.
He concludes that the spirituality of the family is a life at the center, a life in which the daily care for others along with the routine of family life gradually become sacramental, which lead to a deeper encounter with God. He then calls the monastic vocation, the life most often represented in the desert fathers, “life on the edge of God”.
This “newslog” is written at the center with occasional trips into the wilderness, the edge, if you will. Nouwen describes solitude as the furnace of transformation. Without it we remain victims of our society entangled in the illusions of the false self. Those of us with kids know little solitude. Yet, somehow, we can and must encounter God in the vortex of all that transpires around us. Otherwise I’m not sure our spirituality is all that helpful.
I do have a second thought regarding the tag phrase… It just feels a bit arrogant to say much more about it than simply my desire to live a life Centered in God. Maybe as I discover the sacramental aspects of family life my deepest desire will be realized as well.